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Immigration the focus as brands get political at Super Bowl 2017


Immigration the focus as brands get political at Super Bowl 2017


The Super Bowl commercials of Budweiser, Airbnb and 84 Lumber celebrate diversity and inclusion in the wake of Trump’s immigration stance.

Budweiser, Airbnb and 84 Lumber have aired Super Bowl commercials which promote inclusion and diversity.

Budweiser’s ‘Born the hard way’ ad celebrates America’s history as a nation founded by immigrants. It dramatises the story of German immigrant Adolphus Busch, who moved to St Louis, Missouri to pursue his dream of brewing beer, before delivering the tagline ‘when nothing stops your dream, this is the beer we drink.’


Upon arrival in the USA, he is the victim of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment by locals.

In the ad, he meets and makes friends with business partner Eberhard Anheuser, presenting the original design for Budweiser beer. This part of the story is dramatised slightly more; in actual fact, Busch married Anheuser’s daughter and took over a small brewery Anheuser had acquired.

The Budweiser product itself was actually developed by Busch and liquor importer Carl Conrad several years after Anheuser’s death in 1880.

Less of a story and more of a positive brand message, the AirBnB commercial shows close-ups of faces of people of all different colour, age, religion, gender and culture and delivers the message: “We believe, no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”


Perhaps the most emotive of all three, the commercial from building supplies company 84 Lumber was broken into two parts, only the first of which actually aired during the Super Bowl, the second “deemed too controversial for TV,” 84 Lumber’s website reveals.

Part one, ‘The Journey Begins’, where a mother and daughter travel through South America on the journey to the United States.

The message of the ad becomes crystal clear in part two, ‘Complete the Journey’, as the mother and daughter’s journey nears the end, they reach a giant wall. At first they are disheartened, but after pacing along the wall, they find a giant gate constructed of beautiful timber (not sure what to feel about that one) and push their way through to their new lives.

The story ends with a man driving a pickup truck loaded with timber and tools and the tagline ‘the will to succeed is always welcome here.


Related: with 120 million viewers and a US$5 million price tag for 30 seconds, Jason Dooris thinks Super Bowl ads aren’t worth it, here’s why »

Related: Will 2017 be the year diversity breaks into mainstream marketing »


Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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